Insight: Assembly Lines by Sougwen Chung, states of meditation through multi-robotic kinematics & biosensors, Olya Karlovich, δημοσίευση στο CLOT Magazine [6/12/2022]Marilena Pateraki
For nearly a decade, the practice of artist and researcher Sougwen Chung has been evolving around co-creation with robotic units. Each generation of her custom robots, all called D.O.U.G (Drawing Operations Unit Generation), reveals a new level of human-machine interaction, from simple mimicry based on positional translation (D.O.U.G_1) to biofeedback through biometric recording (D.O.U.G_5). In her latest installation, Assembly Lines, the artist explores different states of meditation using multi-robotic kinematics and biosensors. It is presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art Espoo (Finland) as part of the exhibition In Search of the Present.
The installation name is a play-on-words, deconstructing the idea of assembly lines as automated processes in industrial factories. In Chung’s work, Assembly Lines become a gathering, contemplation, and ceremony space. She builds a human-machine configuration linked to a state of presence, of a kind-of ‘inactivity’ in service of something beyond mere extension. I was thinking of Anna Tsing’s writing when the idea for the work came about, ‘The concept of assemblage — an open-ended entanglement of ways of being — is more useful. In an assemblage, varied trajectories gain a hold on each other, but indeterminacy matters. To learn about an assemblage, one unravels its knots, the artist recalls.
Like other Chung projects, Assembly Lines takes many forms — research, robotic system, dataset, performance, visual artefact, and kinetic installation. The installation is activated through a live performance which begins with a two-minute meditation. The audience also participates in the process along with the artist. Chung explains the purpose of this introductory ritual, it provides a space of dynamic contemplation and stillness, as the multi-sensory components of movement, drawing, and sound fill the space of the performance environment and paint strews about the canvas. It is an unfolding of a quiet, daily, personal ritual in the space of a kinetic installation.
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